Goals early and late in both halves have given Melbourne Heart FC a dramatic 2-1 win over Brisbane Roar in the NYL this afternoon.
Match-winner Andrew Cartanos is congratulated by teammates after his goal in the dying seconds of today's game [Photo: Sydney Low]
Goals in the opening and dying seconds of each half gave Melbourne Heart FC a hard-fought and dramatic 2-1 win over Brisbane Roar in the National Youth League this afternoon.
Heart were off to a flyer when Zac Walker knocked in a quick-fire opener inside the first 36 seconds, as Brisbane were caught fast asleep at the back in the opening minute.
Roar pulled a goal back in the first half through Korean Dong-Hyun Do in a hotly contested arm wrestle that looked destined for a stalemate.
But substitute Andrew Cartanos stole the show in the final seconds, threading the needle with a toe-poke on an acute angle three minutes into added time to hand Heart all three points.
The first half was evenly fought out after Walker had given Heart an early advantage, but both sides spurned further chances.
Five minutes after the opener, Golgol Mebrahtu used his pace to beat the Roar defence but his shot was saved well by Nicholas Tubbs in the Roar goal.
In the 16th minute Mebrahtu went close again when he trickled a ball past Tubbs, only to have his effort cleared off the line.
The visitors asked questions of the Heart defence minutes later as Will Abbott was forced to clear off Heart's goal line before keeper Alastair Bray, who registered a fantastic performance, was called into action in a goal-mouth scramble.
But despite Heart's best efforts, Roar equalised in the 22nd minute when the dangerous Dong Hyun Do broke down the left and into the penalty area, fending off a challenge from Jeremy Walker before chipping the ball deftly over Bray into the net.
Do, who had been effective on his left, cut inside on his right in the 36th minute, but Abbott did well to block his shot. The ball fell to Brandon Borrello who attempted to turn in the rebound, but Bray produced an excellent save to tip Borrello-s effort to safety.
Borrello then struck the side netting as Roar looked to take the ascendancy.
Proceedings settled slightly in the second half, before Zac Walker, Mebrahtu and Nicholas Epifano were replaced by three fresh pairs of legs in Evan Batsis, Ersin Kaya and Andrew Cartanos.
Batsis and Cartanos started to gel and threaten the Roar's defence while Kaya was prominent down the right flank.
There were few chances for the home side in the second half, but Heart conjured one of the best in the 69th minute as Jeremy Walker crossed from the right and substitute Batsis collected the ball and shot across the face of goal from a tight angle.
Bray did well to keep Heart in the match with a string of saves, before Cartanos nipped in behind the Brisbane defence and knocked in the winner from the tightest of angles with virtually the last kick of the game.
"I thought as far as the game went, we started off very, very well," NYL coach Joe Palatsides said.
"We probably had one or two really good chances in the first 15 minutes.
"[The win] will give the boys confidence."
Melbourne Heart 2 (Zac WALKER 1', Andrew CARTANOS 90+3') Brisbane Roar 1 (Dong-Hyun DO 22')
Melbourne Heart FC squad: Alistair BRAY (GK), William ABBOTT, Nicholas EPIFANO (Andrew CARTANOS 59-), Joshua GROENEWALD, Andrew MULLET, Phil PETRESKI, Paulo RETRE, Jeremy WALKER (Ersin KAYA 59-), GolGol MEBRAHTU (Evan BATSIS 59-) (Subs not used: Chris MAYNARD (GK))
Brisbane Roar squad: Nicholas TUBBS (GK), Yaji TAKAHASHI, Doag Hyan DO, Kwame YEBOAH (LITFIN 20-), Anthony PROIA, George LAMBADARIDIS, Kenneth DOUGALL, James DONACHIE, Cameron CRESTANI, Brandon BORRELLO (Subs: Fraser CHALMERS (GK), Lachlan JACKSON, Jordan LAMBI, Benjamin LITFIN)